Feels like an eternity since I actually sat down and put my thoughts and feelings into words. That’s not to say that I haven’t had some amazing ideas that I know my followers would love…….however, this is about my baby girl.
At some point over the last few months, seeing my girl continuing to struggle it was decided she should undergo testing to determine what is going on. We were fortunate that she agreed to the testing and fortunate to have a very experienced psychologist administer the tests. The tests were conducted over three days. They were a combination of IQ and cognitive tests, as well as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and personality tests.
On 9/30/19, we met with the doctor to find out what the testing showed. I’m honestly not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect to be told my girl has Borderline Personality Disorder. As the doctor began to explain what BPD is and what the key factors in this disorder are; it was like she was explaining the lat 10 years of my daughters life. It’s not that only one or two factors sounded “right” – they all sounded “right”. As the doctor continued to explain the disorder, I could feel my girl silently sobbing beside me. I keep trying to imagine what she felt hearing the results.
The doctor recommended a very specific type of therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). And explained the reason all the other therapy and medications my girl has tried over the lat 10 years hasn’t worked is because the therapies were not specific to the disorder. The medications did nothing at all. This is a biological disorder.
We left the office with the name of a very well respected psychologist who is skilled in DBT. The psychologist isn’t taking new patients, but gave the name of another psychologist who also does DBT, who also isn’t taking new patients. But from that psychologist we received the name of two other psychologists, neither of which treat BPD. Within a few days I had a list of doctors/groups that I called with no luck. Either new patients were not being accepted or they did not treat BPD patients. I reached out to the psychologist who did the testing. How can we have a 30 minute meeting advising our daughter of this diagnosis and be sent away with nothing to really help her? The testing doctor then provided the name of a group that treats BPD patients. It has to be to good to be true, right? Right. The group is a two hour drive, one way. I still called, explained the situation to the intake person. She took all the information and called me back with an appointment time the following week.
I drove my daughter to the appointment. Yes, she is 19. Yes, she is considered to be an adult. But I really don’t give a shit because the last 10 years has sucked and she will always know that I will be supportive of her. She met with the psychologist alone first and then toward the end of the appointment I was called in so I could hear the recommended treatment. I could tell as soon as I entered the room that my girl was comfortable with this therapist. She was asking questions, talking and seemed more at ease. Th treatment would be two days a week. One day is a two hour session that is basically like a classroom setting to learn new skills and coping mechanisms. The other day is a one hour private therapy session. Included with the treatment is phone check-ins with the therapist. The therapist was concerned because of the distance between our home and the facility. It is also a huge concern of mine. Yes, my daughter can drive. But after a two hour drive to get to the facility, a two hour session, and another two hour drive home – I just don’t feel good about it. She will be mentally exhausted after the therapy and I don’t think driving on highways and expressways would be a smart situation to put her in. I am still exploring a drive service and trying to figure out how that would be paid for……………
I asked the therapist if there were any other facilities closer to our home that have a similar type program for DBT. Nope. They are the only one in the state and actually have patients from nearby states due to the success of their treatment plan.
Seemed like things were finally falling into place. One little hurdle, my daughter has to agree to the treatment. She has to agree to go and commit to a year of intensive treatment. She hasn’t agreed to it. She is in denial. She is tired. She doesn’t know if she has anymore fight left in her. She doesn’t think her life is worth it. She doesn’t want to have to fight her brain every single day to try and live a normal life.
Borderline Personality Disorder is very hard to understand. I have been reading only things recommended by the therapists we have been dealing with. I feel the following is an extremely accurate explanation. I am probably going to be sued for using this – but you can’t get blood from a stone.
“Beneath the clinical nomenclature lies the anguish experienced by borderlines and their families and friends. For the borderline, much of life is a relentless emotional roller coaster with no apparent destination. For those living with, loving, or treating the borderline, the trip can seem just as wild, hopeless, and frustrating. Jennifer and millions of other borderlines are provoked to rage uncontrollably against the people they love most. They feel helpless and empty, with an identity splintered by severe emotional contradictions. Mood changes come swiftly, explosively, carrying the borderline from the heights of joy to the depths of depression. Filled with anger one hour, calm the next, he often has little inkling about why he was driven to such wrath. Afterward, the inability to understand the origins of the episode brings on more self-hate and depression. A borderline suffers a kind of “emotional hemophilia”; she lacks the clotting mechanism needed to moderate her spurts of feeling. Prick the delicate “skin” of a borderline and she will emotionally bleed to death. Sustained periods of contentment are foreign to the borderline. Chronic emptiness depletes him until he is forced to do anything to escape. In the grip of these lows, the borderline is prone to a myriad of impulsive, self-destructive acts—drug and alcohol binges, eating marathons, anorexic fasts, bulimic purges, gambling forays, shopping sprees, sexual promiscuity, and self-mutilation. He may attempt suicide, often not with the intent to die but to feel something, to confirm he is alive. “I hate the way I feel,” confesses one borderline. “When I think about suicide, it seems so tempting, so inviting. Sometimes it’s the only thing I relate to. It is difficult not to want to hurt myself. It’s like, if I hurt myself, the fear and pain will go away.” Central to the borderline syndrome is the lack of a core sense of identity. When describing themselves, borderlines typically paint a confused or contradictory self-portrait, in contrast to other patients who generally have a much clearer sense of who they are. To overcome their indistinct and mostly negative self-image, borderlines, like actors, are constantly searching for “good roles,” complete “characters” they can use to fill their identity void. So they often adapt like chameleons to the environment, situation, or companions of the moment, much like the title character in Woody Allen’s film Zelig, who literally assumes the personality, identity, and appearance of people around him. The lure of ecstatic experiences, whether attained through sex, drugs, or other means, is sometimes overwhelming for the borderline. In ecstasy, he can return to a primal world where the self and the external world merge—a form of second infancy. During periods of intense loneliness and emptiness, the borderline will go on drug binges, bouts with alcohol, or sexual escapades (with one or several partners), sometimes lasting days at a time. It is as if when the struggle to find identity becomes intolerable, the solution is either to lose identity altogether or to achieve a semblance of self through pain or numbness.”
Kreisman MD, Jerold J.. I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me (pp. 11-13). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.